Marketing to Millennial Homebuyers

July 12, 2018 4:20 pm Published by

A New Era

Baby boomers and Gen X’ers have long been the focus of real estate marketing, given their buying power relative to Millennials. However, when shaping the marketing and market positioning strategy, real estate professionals should keep in mind that people aged 37 and younger are now the largest group of homebuyers in the US.1

Millennials tend to rent longer before buying their first home (approx. 6 years).This may be surprising as:

  • People aged 25-34 are sharing housing with roommates and other non-relatives at a higher rate than previous generations (7.5% in 2016, compared to 4% in 1990).2
  • An all-time high of 35.6 % of adults 18-34 were living in their parents’ homes in 2015.

Shifts in Thinking

According to a recent ULI article, developers are recognizing that their previous assumptions about the future of Millennial home buying habits haven’t turned out to be true.

  • Assumption: Millennials would abandon suburban communities for urban lifestyles.
    • Actuality: Only 15% of millennial buyers bought a home in an urban area in 2017, down from 21% in 2015.
  • Assumption: Millennials aren’t having kids or getting married, so they’re going to keep renting.
    • Actuality: Only 15% of millennial buyers bought a home in an urban area in 2017, down from 21% in 2015.
  • Assumption: Millennials wouldn’t be as interested in living in a master-planned community with amenities as older generations.
    • Actuality: Developers are seeing a much larger percentage of their buyers coming from the Millennial generation than expected, likely due to their interest in walkable and connected communities.

New Perspective, New Opportunities

Now that we have the data to support these new realizations, developers, builders, and brokers should leverage these insights in their planning & marketing strategies. When marketing to millennials, focus on appealing to their generational values though authentic messaging throughout multiple channels – both on & offline.

We’ve identified several opportunities to improve real estate marketing strategy specifically for a millennial audience:

  • Mobile-friendly advertising: 77% of millennials used a mobile device in their home search.3 Ensure that your website provides a user-friendly mobile experience; optimize your social ads for mobile devices; consider creating an app where users can easily access your real estate offerings.
  • Flexibility: If you’re a builder that offers a variety of floorplans and financing options, highlight this flexibility in messaging to millennial audiences. If you’re a broker, offer options for communication – texting, email, social media, etc.
  • Value proposition: Developers should incorporate the values of this generation when planning and marketing new communities. Walkability, connectivity, energy efficiency, and affordability are all important to millennials in choosing a home. Bonus points for dog-friendly communities – 33% of millennial first-time homebuyers surveyed by SunTrust Mortgage were motivated by the desire for more space for a dog, more so than by marriage (25%) or the birth of a child (19%).
  • Location, location: A remarkable 84% of millennials say they’d be willing to give up a home feature – such as a garage, updated kitchen or some square footage – to live in their ideal neighborhood.4 Realtors & brokers should consider this when promoting listings to millennial audiences.



3 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2017/


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